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Day 15 after a few good weeks, at another roadblock

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by bennet, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    I journal a lot, and I go deep, but it doesn't feel like it's helping any more. I have generally good emotional awareness-- I know what is stressing me out, I recognize triggers, I dig into the the "bad" feelings that I "shouldn't have". And I work to end journaling sessions with a positive note, like a lesson I've learned, but I really don't feel any relief from journaling any more.

    I just feel like I can't get out deep self-analysis mode. The things that trigger me are constantly on my mind now, and I don't want to push them away, because the whole point is not to do that. But all this the introspection is now a stressor. I feel like I'm not able to take a break from the emotional work-- now that it's at the surface, it's just there. I'm understanding it better, but it's still stressing me out. I can't seem to let it go and enjoy a nice day. I'm even afraid to take a break because I worry that if I'm not doing all this stuff, my symptoms will get worse.

    I do meditate at least 30 minutes daily, and that helps somewhat, but it doesn't seem to create the balance I need.

    As I write this out, I'm realizing that the times when I was doing best were the times when I was able to stop caring about my symptoms. I'm finding that really hard right now. I suspect this means that fear/frustration around TMS is a major factor keeping me in the cycle. (In support of that, my symptoms are dialing down as I write this.)

    I'm just so sick of this stuff. I'm frustrated because for some people it resolves so easily, and I worry that I will just keep hounding down one symptom after another for who knows how long. I just want a break from all this journaling and digging.

    Does anyone relate? Has anyone found any helpful techniques for approaching this in a more balanced way?
    juderocketqueen and brendan537 like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Brendan. I think you do need to take a break from journaling and thinking about your symptoms. Don't worry that pain will increase if you take some time off. Find pleasant things to do or think about, and live in the present moment.

    Some people heal faster than others from TMS emotions. Stay confident that you will heal. It will come as you subconscious mind believes you truly belief you will heal.
    birdsetfree and bennet like this.
  3. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    Hi Walt-- thank you for the encouragement. I've been considering it since yesterday, and I agree, a break would really help me. I also stumbled across Claire Weeke's work, which is really resonating with me, and she mentions something very similar to what's happening with me: for some people, it's more important to focus on how to respond to stress than to try and dig up "root issues" all the time, which itself might just increase your stress unmanageably. She also says that in recovery, "good" times are create hope and allow you to rest, and "bad" times are the learning experiences you build with. So I'll try to remember what I've learned from this one, and give myself a bit of a break.
    plum and birdsetfree like this.
  4. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Claire Weekes helped me so much with my recovery particularly learning to accept the ups and downs that came along the way. You have experienced this acceptance when you didn't care about your symptoms and that's when you felt better. Well done. You can do this.
    bennet and plum like this.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey sweetheart,

    I totally relate and indeed stepped away from this wiki and any sense of 'active' tms healing for a good two years. I was going nowhere and possibly getting worse. I have journaled pretty much my whole life and felt that I was in tune with my emotions and was quite self-aware. Except that I wasn't. I had built a fortress around certain events and situations in my life and because I felt little-to-nothing about them, I thought all was ok. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    In my time away I focused a lot on my physical health because it had taken a battering over the years. I improved my diet and I started swimming again (a childhood passion). I relaxed and didn't probe my emotions. I started to heal. I was happy and making progress. And then something happened that led to a huge flare-up and I found myself back here. This time everything was different. I understood tms on a profoundly personal level and I was able to distance myself sufficiently to revisit all those past events that had led to certain psychological patterns, the self-same patterns that were the cause of my tms.

    It is these psychological ways of being in the world that create the tms emotional soup and trigger the sympathetic nervous system endlessly. Many, many people here find that they need to soothe their physiology before they can make significant progress. It is a horrible cycle and once in it activities like journaling can become temporarily redundant. Some people find journaling doesn't help them at all and ditch it without looking back. Healing is very personal and unique to each soul but once you are in the slipstream of recovery you know for sure. Find what works for you and stick to it faithfully.

    Claire Weekes is very helpful for dealing with anxiety and such because she really communicates the fact that it is simply your nervous system doing what it does and that it will calm when you let it. You may also find other body-oriented methods beneficial. Mostly though it sounds like you need a break from all the digging. All fields benefit from lying fallow sometimes.

    Here is a link to a post I made on the subject of journaling which may lend some insights;

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/stress-headaches.13092/#post-68913 (Stress headaches)

    In the end we have to acknowledge how deeply individual our healing is. It may seem that tms resolves easily for some people but I suspect that is something of an illusion. Without engaging with the essential inner work and changing the way they respond and live, all those people are doing is dodging bullets. And that works until the day it doesn't.

    with love,

    Plum x
    Ellen likes this.
  6. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    Thank you <3 (This thread has been a good reminder that encouragement from people is so important.)
  7. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    Thank you, so much, for writing to me and sharing that thread. Your compassion and insight is *so helpful*. I'll be coming back to this thread. :)
  8. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    Hi-- I was about to go out when I read your comment earlier, so I didn't have the time to respond as much as I wanted to. I want to thank you again for taking the time to write to me. I've found that your responses are some of the most comforting messages that have ever come to me.

    You wrote about building a fortress around certain events-- I am entirely sure I have done the same thing too. But as bad as it feels right now, I still can't even access those things. They remain impenetrable, and that is frustrating because I've been lead to believe that I have to get to them in order to improve the quality of my life. And it's scary to think that some day I might stumble upon them and WHAM, it will hurt. Your story helps me to feel better though, because it reminds me that I am now gathering all the resources I will need to help me if that day comes. I will try to have some faith in myself, and that if it happens, I will be ready to work with it.

    Today I went to work and had the opportunity to practice Claire Weekes' advice, and it has helped so much. I'm convinced that the best thing for me, right now, is to practice not being afraid of fear. No need to dig excessively into my past, if it's not serving me now. I think fear of pain, fear of failing to improve, fear of relapse, fear of uncertainty-- all this has been a major factor that I was neglecting to examine. I spent the day thinking, "It's ok, just let it be," whenever a twinge of pain started, and eventually I wasn't even thinking about it any more and I was fine. And even when I was noticing discomfort, it didn't feel like the end of the world any more. My meditation practice has laid the groundwork for this, so it comes pretty easily, when I remember to use this.

    So all that to say, thank you for reminding me that healing is going look different for everyone. I was hung up on wondering why I wasn't doing ok, even though I was following all the directions. I lost some confidence in my intuition when I learned that my physical pain was "tricking" me. It's probably time to start trusting my instincts again.
    plum likes this.
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Many of us are instinct-injured, and having walked the tms road for such a long time, I can see how the initial wound was a violation of innocence and how this lead to being a certain way to protect myself. I believe this is true for lots of people. The fortress is literal protection and in my case there is one memory that I have completely dissociated from. I know it is there but all I have is a jumble of memory fragments and a lifetime of nervous system reactivity. Over the years I have very gently, very mindfully approached the briar and teased apart a bit here, cut some back a bit there. Mostly though the healing comes from understanding that there is no need to be endlessly vigilant, that my nervous system has got stuck in the sympathetic mode and that this can be soothed into it's natural repose.

    Fear amplifies everything. It is like throwing petrol on a blazing fire so to deal with it and it's various manifestations is enough. Aside from Claire Weekes it does well to ensure you rest and sleep well. Our brains heal during sleep and sleep is the single most important way of calming an agitated nervous system. If you are interested in these thoughts then I would urge you to explore the writings of David Hanscom. He does post on the forum and he offers a very compassionate and structured approach to resolving chronic pain. He is a salvage spinal surgeon and his work centres on healing people who have endured unsuccessful spinal surgery. If he can help them then there is much hope for us all.

    I'm delighted that my words brought you much-needed reassurance and comfort. Chronic pain is hell on earth and to know that there is a way out and a way back to life is the lifeline we need.

    Blessings my dear.

    Plum x
    bennet likes this.
  10. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    Thank you. <3 I will definitely look into David Hanscom, and bookmark your thoughts to revisit. So many good resources have come to me this week!

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